Food trucks are perfectly suited for the times. The mere concept of them is COVID-proof, as they are usually operated by no more than three people, and there is a wall and window separating those people from the customers. Milwaukee has been on the rise in the past few years on that front, with food truck parks opening up and various other ones dotting the urban landscape. Downtown in Pabst country, where the cream city brick runs plentiful, there is a kitchen specializing in Filipino cuisine. That kitchen is Meat on the Street, located at 1125 N. 9th St. It’s run by siblings Matt and Alexa Alfaro.
“Filipino culture and cuisine is pretty scarce in Milwaukee, so we wanted to highlight the type of food we grew up with and present the Spanish island, southeast Asian hybrid that it is,” Alexa says.
Indeed, the food is as she describes it. Kebabs are a main staple, as well as “pork adobo”—slow roasted pork served over rice. Every culture has some kind of version of this dish, but it is definitely tied to the roots of island culture, where pig is so easy to raise. The Spanish flair comes in the form of “curtido,” which just means “pickled.” Pickled onions and cabbage are given as a side with the kebabs and pork. The southeast Asian element comes with the seasonings such as soy sauce, and the more apparent egg rolls that are a best-seller.
The Meat on the Street truck got its start in 2014. Since then, it has moved seamlessly throughout southeastern Wisconsin, sometimes going down to Illinois and over to Madison. The best way to find it is to follow it on Facebook to see where Matt and Alexa will be throughout the week.
“People are encouraged to order virtually and pick up from our kitchen on 9th,” Alexa says.
The truck has received some national attention, and even came up on the radar of the Mayor of Flavortown himself, Guy Fieri. Alexa and Matt competed on Guy’s Grocery Games (“Triple G” to the real fans) back in 2016. This was during a time when all they operated was their truck and their catering business. They have served at many parties, and continue to do so.
Alexa and Matt’s father, born in Calapan in the northernmost metro part of Manila, did all the cooking in their home. The entirety of Meat on the Street is in that spirit.
“When you come to Meat on the Street, you are getting the kind of food we made in our kitchen growing up, and is so hard to find in this city,” Alexa says. When a restaurant has that philosophy, skilled craftsmanship just comes with the territory.